For the first time, a long-term Israeli government rental housing project has been approved in an Arab community, in the town of Jaljulya, northeast of Tel Aviv. The government company Dira Lehaskir, which was established to boost the country’s supply of rental housing, will be building four or five apartment buildings containing a total of about 100 apartments on 10-year leases at fixed rates.
The plan is being carried out in conjunction with the local government in Jaljulya and the Israel Land Authority and is considered a pilot that may encourage similar projects in other towns. A quarter of the apartments, which will be built to high standards, will be leased to qualifying renters at reduced rates.
The program is part of a larger effort by a number of government ministries in recent months to improve housing in Arab communities and to eliminate barriers to new housing. It is being overseen by an inter-ministerial team led by the Justice Ministry. The team’s initial recommendations were recently made public, but can only be considered by a new government after the September 17 election.
The panel’s recommendations acknowledge the current difficulties in embarking on new high-density construction in Arab communities, due to Arab tradition that attaches particular value, beyond economic considerations, to owning land. The head of the Jaljulya local council, Darwish Rabi, said the rental market in the Israeli Arab community is insignificant and is mostly in private hands.
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